May 11, 2013

Lisa: education > ignorance

I recently read an unusually thoughtful and calm Facebook thread started by someone sharing an article about Elizabeth Smart's controversial talk at the Johns Hopkins human trafficking forum. I don't really want to argue about whether Elizabeth’s remarks indicate if she is or is not against abstinence-only education. I will say that as a fully active Mormon who practiced abstinence until marriage, I strongly believe our schools should present a balanced, fact-based sex education program that includes abstinence as one valid (and very effective) form of protection against STDs and pregnancy. I personally think a lack of education doesn’t necessarily keep teenagers sexually unawakened. It just breeds the kind of ignorance that results in a pregnant teen saying to her dad, "But I don’t understand how this happened. We didn't even have sex!"

Even if Elizabeth Smart did not say the words "abstinence-only education," she certainly mentioned a specific object lesson she had been given, comparing a girl who had engaged in sex before marriage to a "chewed-up piece of gum" that no future abstinence-minded spouse would want to put in his mouth. This version of The Tainted Muffin (which I’ve railed against before here) had the particularly heartbreaking effect of making an innocent victim of kidnapping and repeated rape feel so worthless she wasn’t even sure it was worth trying to escape.

The Facebook thread I mentioned above was discussing how to successfully teach our children the practical and moral value of abstinence, without using shame or describing sex (and the associated feelings and body parts) as dirty or evil. These techniques may be effective in the short term for some young people, but can have long-lasting and very damaging effects on their sexual attitudes as adults who are suddenly allowed to have sex within the bonds of holy matrimony.

I thought one comment in the thread was particularly thought provoking. I would like to give the commenter credit here, but I don’t know her and I don’t know if she would like her anonymity preserved. Here's what she said:

You have to eliminate "sin next to murder" rhetoric, stop teaching that sexual arousal is problematic, talk openly and directly about sexual power and agency (waiting for marriage becomes a proactive, empowered choice, instead of a reactive, fear-based one), openly and explicitly teach grace for those who choose not to wait instead of shame and condemnation, stop including masturbation and "necking and petting" as part of the law of chastity, and eliminate any teaching that implies that girls and women are responsible for the sexual feelings and responses of boys and men. For starters.

I think there’s a lot of good stuff here, and the response from the subsequent commenters was largely positive. One commenter, who I will also leave anonymous, politely offered a slight amendment:

I am grateful that I was advised to avoid necking and petting before marriage. It made it unique and special to share with it with my husband and comforting to know I wasn't xteenth experience for him either.

I am glad this was true for this woman and that she is happy with her choices, but I would like to state emphatically that I know this does not have to be true for everyone. How? I know because it is not true for me. Petting aside (because none of your business), "necking" with the boys I dated before I met my husband is a happy memory for me. Those experiences were fun, and exciting, and a little silly and ridiculous, and part of being close to someone I cared about. They were part of being a teenager and growing up and figuring out how to be an adult. They helped me decide how I wanted to be treated by a romantic partner. They are a kind of physical interaction that isn't focused on as much when you're allowed to "go all the way." And finally, they are part of what makes me know that what I have with my husband now is lasting and truly special.

I hope when my girls are teenagers they have all the information. I hope they see how beautiful and smart and amazing they are. I hope they know their intrinsic worth is not determined by how others see or treat them. I hope their health teachers scare the crap out of them with banana/condom demonstrations and the Miracle of Life video, and give them practical information on what exactly could get them pregnant. I hope they have fun and feel free to be teenagers (within reason). I hope they understand why I felt abstinence was important for me. I hope they are thoughtfully taught why our church puts a high value on chastity, fidelity, and the sanctity of the power of procreation. I hope they are comfortable coming to me with questions about this stuff. Most of all I hope they know that if they make different choices than I did, that I--and God, and their future spouse--will still love them just as much.

January 17, 2012

Sarah: Overalls

Dear Gap,

Are you sure this is the direction you want to go? Are you sure you want to be the one responsible for doing this to our nation, nay, the world?

Because I really think you should reconsider.

Sincerely (and sincerely considering a denim jumper),

April 25, 2011

Sarah: Haiku for men who dress like Criss Angel

You think you look good
In your True Religion jeans
But, alas, you're wrong.

May 04, 2010

Lisa: sexy?

Sarah sent me the following text messages yesterday:

Sarah: I can hear Rocco humping his bed and it is...intimate.
Lisa: Ew.
S: I. Know. But who am I to say stop? He deserves a fulfilling life? Ugh.
L: Ew! But...dogs don't wear condoms, so I guess it is the more responsible choice.
S: Dogs also don't have the only 100% effective form of birth control: Levis.
L: Good point.


S: Aaand I now have Showtime.
L: Your TV situation confuses me.
S: Me too! Anyway. You should come over sometime. I bet we could see some titties.
L: Who doesn't like a good pair of titties?
S: They're the Sara Lee of anatomy.

This morning during the Diane Rehm show, I heard a radio commercial I had to investigate further. It was for PajamaGrams (now including pajama jeans!) Apparently, 'the gift of relaxation' is great for Mothers' Day. For a mere $45 - $75, you can have the loungewear of your choice delivered in a periwinkle or pink organza hatbox. (Yep. Organza. Hatbox.)

The good news is that pajama jeans (essentially wide-leg "jeggings" as far as I can tell) are still a 100% effective form of birth control: not because of their sturdy fabric and construction, but because no one wants to become intimate with someone wearing a pair. And can we just revel in that trademarked fabric name for a moment? DORMISOFT. I'm not going to say that this particular garment symbolizes the downfall of society, is clearly a gift for someone you hate.

April 26, 2010

Lisa: Lovin' a follow-up

Maybe you remember my rant about the McDonald's Playplace last May. Nora and I stopped at McDonald's after our library visit today, and I let her play for a bit while I gathered some pictorial evidence for you.

Here's the ludicrous evacuation procedure I mentioned:

In case my camera phone quality is too substandard, here's the exact text.



1. Manager will get childrens [sic] attention.
2. Manager will instruct children to leave play equipment.
3. All parents should wait for their children and should not enter the play equipment.
4. Manager will complete a circuit of all play areas to ensure all are clear of children.
5. Everyone is to move to the main doors and exit to assemble point. [sic]

I don't think I need to say again how ineffective I think step 2 would be in an emergency. I am curious about step 4. Are prospective managers asked to perform this circuit of play areas during the interview process, to make sure they have the necessary flexibility (and diminutive size) to navigate the little gerbil tubes? If they're over four feet tall, I think they might have a hard time--and the Hamburglar agrees with me.

Last, and possibly grossest, is the "record" of past Playplace sanitations. The last time someone who had a grease pencil sanitized this particular play area was in 2008. TWO YEARS AGO. Do you think it was sanitized again in January of '09, and the hapless chemical-sprayer just rubbed out bits of the old numbers when he realized he'd forgotten a writing implement? I would like to believe so. Especially considering my daughter just crawled around in there for half an hour.

May 14, 2009

Lisa: Lovin' it?

There is a matter that has been lying heavily upon my mind for some time. I think it is time to share this matter with you, and to use your responses as a balm for my troubled soul.

I HATE the McDonalds Playland.

It is horrible. Let me describe it for the uninitiated among you. The McDonalds Playland is a giant network of brightly colored plastic pipes. Some of these pipes lead to dead ends with clear plexiglass windows, while others lead up to larger, room-like openings or enclosed, spiral pipe-slides. There is usually one entrance to the entire structure, with a bank of cubbies next to it for kids' shoes. The whole mess is completely enclosed with a combination of plexiglass walls, locked chain-link-and-PVC-pipe gates, and nylon netting.

Maybe that doesn't sound so bad, but let me describe for you just a few of the problems.

1) Half the kids in there are carrying grubby little handfuls of soggy cheeseburger, or half-eaten Chicken McNuggets. These get dragged and squished along the sides and floor of the pipes during play (not to mention the kid with the overflowing diaper dragging his pungent little butt down each tube). Now, these pipes are kid-sized, and adults are not allowed inside the Playplace. You KNOW the employees aren't squeezing in there after hours, wiping down those pipes with any kind of regularity. The whole thing might be "sanitized" once or twice a year, but that's not doing much against day-to-day grimings.

2) Once your kid is past the entrance, there is no possibility for adult intervention of any kind. Did she climb too high, and is now unsure how to get back down? You'll just have to wait for her to stop crying and figure it out. Did some bigger kids corner her at the end of the blue pipe and start menacing her with their broken-off ice cream cones? I hope she remembers those self-defense lessons you've been giving her.

3) Forget getting your child out of the Playland before they're good and ready. They know you can't come in there after them, and they take advantage of that. There is always at least one mom outside the entrance of the Playland, hands on hips, half bent over and calling into the pipe in her sternest voice: "DEVIN! DEVIN! YOU COME OUT OF THERE THIS INSTANT!" There is a sign posted outside the structure detailing emergency procedures, which are basically that the parents are supposed to stay out of the structure, while McDonalds management "gets the children's attention and instructs them to leave the Playland." Right. I'm sure the kids will see giant flames through the plexiglass, hear an unfamiliar voice through a loudspeaker urging them to exit, and will calmly comply. None of them will get scared and huddle in the most hard-to-reach places.

4) Guaranteed, one kid is scaling the nylon netting on the outside of the Playland, while another kid is yelling, "Mo-om! The sign says No Climbing [which it patently does] and that boy is climbing!" There is no choice for the second kid's mother but to yell back, "Are you that boy's mother? No. He has a mother." Must we play out this tired scene again and again?

5) Please don't get me started on the aura of plastic-generated electrostatic that surrounds the whole place.

Nora, of course, loves it. Even when I have to pick pieces of broken Happy Meal toys out of her chubby little knees afterward.

April 10, 2009

Lisa: Mmm! The invigorating scent of "you may have vomited recently!"

Dear Crest,

Congratulations on Vivid White--a triumph, really. One question, though. Instead of Invigorating Mint, don't you think you should just come right out and say wintergreen? Then the people who wish they could brush their teeth with Pepto Bismol would know right away which tube is for them.

Oh, and would you mind passing on a message to your friends at Secret? A squishy goo that is pushed up through a grate when you twist the base can't honestly be referred to as a Conditioning Solid, am I right? Let's try to stay away from outright lies in our product copy.


Sensitive Gag Reflex

January 20, 2009

Lisa: no means no

Dear Walgreens cashier,

Please do not expose my one-year-old daughter to the sight of your plush caveman singing Do It Like They Do on the Discovery Channel. Similarly, hide away your mechanical puppy holding a valentine heart and offering an inappropriately sexual R&B message. In fact, maybe stay away from the animatronics altogether. She's saying "no" for a reason.


Common Sense

November 13, 2008

Sarah: You, sir, are no Mr. Mistoffelees

When I first moved into my apartment, the presence of a presumably community-owned cat quickly became apparent. When the cat approached my open living room window to meow and beg, I took a spray bottle in hand and squirted through the screen.

The cat quickly learned that we were not destined to be friends. What I would soon realize, however, was that the cat had decided we would, instead, be nemeses.

It all began when the cat covered the hood of my car with paw prints. Can you see them?

And then. THEN, dear reader. The cat escalated. Look at that defiant stare.

Touche, Cat. You are a worthy adversary indeed.

May 23, 2008

Lisa: no more nougat

Ants ate my Toblerone. This is the universe telling me that I am too fat to be eating a Toblerone.

On the other hand, I won the Toblerone in a drawing at work. I never win things. So, that could be the universe saying, "Go ahead. Eat a Toblerone. You've earned it!"

STOP MESSING WITH MY MIND, UNIVERSE! I am feeling very fragile right now. Yes. What? Yes! Because ANTS. ATE. MY FRIGGIN TOBLERONE.

May 19, 2008

Lisa: I can't drink that

Sarah and I were loitering in the drink aisle of the grocery store, trying to find the perfect flavored lemonade, when we spied some very appealing packaging.

It was a small, dark blue glass bottle, with little bumps on the sides and a silver screw-top. "I'd buy this one just because the bottle is so pretty," one of us said, turning the drink around so we could read the name.

"Oh. Never mind."

I think the marketing person who chose the name Bawls and the marketing person who designed the bottle are two separate individuals--and the person designing the bottle knew he had to do some of his very best work to overcome that name. A noble effort, too--it was almost successful. Unfortunately, the problem is compounded because Bawls Guarana Exxtra (now with more energy, perhaps?) comes in a white version of the same bottle. If you want the original, you have to request the "blue Bawls."

Thank you,

February 25, 2008

Lisa: tender mercies

Why are cashiers trained to give you your change with the dollar bills on the bottom and the coins balanced precariously on top? Why? This may seem like a convenient setup for the person offering the change (all parts visible and in one hand), but for the recipient it's a disaster waiting to happen. The customer must grasp the end of the offered dollar bill without touching the hand of the cashier, and then hope they've grabbed enough of the limp paper to maintain the slightly curved structure that will support the much heavier coins. If the customer is in a car at the drive through, then they must carefully navigate the bills and their coin payload (which they must only guess at the presence and exact location of, since the drive-up window is six inches above the customer's head) carefully down through the car window without tilting it too much to one side, thus allowing the coins to slip off their perch and tumble down under the car, never to be seen again. If this happens (heaven forbid), the drive-through attendant invariably looks down at the ground between the building and the car and says "Oh." They do not offer to replace your lost coins.

HOW DO WE CORRECT THIS TRAVESTY, you cry? I am happy to report there is a simple and painless solution. After removing your change from the till, cashiers should:

1) drop coins directly into your palm, then
2) offer paper bills.

See? It's actually faster for the cashier because she doesn't have to combine the coins and bills (which she had to grab from separate little bins) into a stack before handing them to you. Everybody's happy.

July 19, 2007

Lisa: Jack Bauer would get this all straightened out.

When Gabrielle's good friend Anne flew to Oregon to visit her parents last month, her husband (a German citizen and a Muslim) was detained by U.S. Customs and then sent back to Germany with no explanation. Anne and her family have no rights here, and the situation may never be resolved. Please spread the word if you can.

Here's the article from the local paper in Eugene.

June 05, 2007

Lisa: You will NOT be assimilated. Sorry.

Can I just say that I hate (HATE) those little bluetooth ear-clip phone thingies? There is no faster ticket to Tooldom. If you wear one while you drive to avoid accidents, fine. If you work in a call center and your company has those instead of wired headsets, fine. Wear it at work. No one (NO ONE) needs to wear one all the time. If you must wear one while tooling around your own home, so be it--but for the sake of all that is good and holy, take it off when you venture into the public realm.

April 17, 2007

Lisa: word to the wise

When I am in the middle of helping someone else,

1) Do not slam your hand down on the counter and shout, "WWWWWWWWWAKE UP!!!!"

2) Do not follow that up with an enthusiastic statement about how people don't have to be quiet in the library anymore.

3) When I turn my attention to you, do not ask me an asinine question about whether we have a certain tax form that you already know we don't have ON THE DAY TAXES ARE DUE.

4) Do not finish our interaction with an exhortation to "SMILE!!!"

See, I normally give exemplary customer service. I pride myself on it. But when you hit me with all of the above, I have no alternative but to give you the bitch stare of death through the fog of rage that has suddenly enveloped me. Two other customers rushed over and immediately started empathizing with me, which means that either you JUST WENT TOO FAR, or that they took pity on the pregnant lady who looked like she was going to burst a blood vessel.

Either way, please, don't do those things.

March 30, 2007

Lisa: corndog karma

A few nights ago I got corndogged. In case the name isn't enough of an explanation for you, corndogging is a prank in which the pranksters obtain a large quantity of frozen corn dogs and drive them into the prankee's lawn stick-first in the middle of the night. With any luck, by morning the corndogs have defrosted, and have become a smelly and tantalizing treat for the neighborhood pets.

The first problem with the fact that I was the victim of this harmless but irritating attack is that corndogging is my signature prank. I INVENTED IT.

Secondly, this meager attempt barely qualifies:

THIS, my friend, is corndogging:

Live and learn. Oh, and stay off my lawn!

January 23, 2007

Sarah: Do you need a Hope Coach?

Utah residents, I pose a question to you:
Have you ever listened to a certain radio station on Sunday nights? Say, from 10 pm to 12 am? If you have, you may have heard a certain Dawson McAllister.
I find this radio program upsetting. The premise of the show is something along these lines: teens troubled by life issues, ordinary or otherwise, need an outlet and support. Callers can vent to Mr. McAllister about how parents just don't understand, how dating sucks (it's true, kids, and it doesn't always get better), or anything else. Callers have an outlet, a sympathetic ear. Listeners either feel like they aren't alone, or like life could be so much worse. I don't have a problem with any of this in theory. No, I think I have more of a problem with Dawson McAllister (that's right, he's hip with the kids these days: he has a MySpace) in particular.
I'm willing to ignore the issue of someone believing that a two-minute session on a radio call-in show can significantly change someone's life. I'm more uncomfortable with the voyeuristic quality that the host of the show seems to exude. Unfortunately for him, this man walks a fine line. Perhaps his callers have a genuinely troubling problem in their lives that they are reluctant to admit out loud. Perhaps these callers need coaxing to admit the issues on their minds. Perhaps. Or perhaps the host pushes them to put more gravity into their situation than what actually exists. It goes something like this:

"Hi. [heavy breathing] Um. Um. I don't really get along with my parents, you know? And um. [more breathing] I sometimes fight with them."
"Uh huh. Is your dad mean to you?"
"... Yeah."
"Yeah, and sometimes he's violent, isn't he?"
"[breathing.] ... [more breathing] Yeah."


"So I've been dating my boyfriend for, like, a while. And lately he's been pressuring me."
"Ah, I see. Pressuring you to be more physical?"
"Yeah, sometimes."
"Well, are you uncomfortable with that? How does it make you feel?"

Now, I realize that this man is probably only trying to help, and his callers are on his show because they feel trapped and that they have no one in their life they can talk to. But I also realize that these shows have screeners, and a more frightening situation has a greater chance of getting on the air.
I'd like to think that teenagers are strong-minded, independent young adults. To some extent that is true. They are, in many cases, probably more capable than some may give them credit for. But many of the callers on this program are probably younger than 15 and quite suggestible. Not to mention that there is a certain amount of junior high celebrity attached to hearing oneself on the radio. On top of all this, is it really right to encourage young people to villanize their parents and peers? I'm not sure about any of that. And I now listen to my iTunes while in my Sunday night cleaning frenzy.

January 22, 2007

Lisa: not in the best of taste

My stomach has developed a sudden and inexplicable (but nonetheless vehement) hatred for bile. I have tried explaining that bile and my stomach should just get along, that they could in fact work together in perfect harmony, but to no avail. Whenever my stomach detects the presence of its arch enemy, the offending bile must immediately be expelled. Alas.

November 18, 2006

Lisa: I hate you so much right now

Advertisers must be wary of association with the scandal-fest that is Nip/Tuck, because FX seems to play the same two commercials over and over during the show. One (a set of trailers, actually) is for Dirt, starring Courtney Cox. The other causes me to involuntarily gouge out my eyes with the nearest sharp implement, shrieking ineffectually at the TV screen, "A SHRUG IS NOT A SHIRT!!!!!!!!"

It is hard to watch Nip/Tuck with no eyes. FX, have mercy!

November 03, 2006

Sarah: Emergency

Warning: I discuss underwear in this entry. Some links will lead you to photos of underwear. I realize that some people might view models in underwear as somewhat scandalous. If this is offensive to you, do not click the links. Thank you.

I would like to take a moment to talk about Emergency Underwear. Maybe you think I'm referring to your days-of-the-week underwear that you keep near the back of your underwear drawer. I'm not. Because even though you feel a bit ridiculous wearing blue cotton panties with a smiling giraffe and "Tuesday" printed on the front, there is at least that moment when you are getting ready and you glance in the mirror and then start dancing in your bedroom to the radio playing Sexy Back because really? Your butt looks SO cute in Tuesday.

No. I'm not talking about those panties. I'm talking about your laundry day panties. The underwear that you keep telling yourself to just throw away, but then all of a sudden, you have no clean underwear left, and it's either wearing your emergency underwear or nothing at all. You know the panties I mean. They are white, they are high-waisted, and they kill a small part of your soul every time you are forced by the dirty laundry gods to wear them.

My emergency panties look like this. I bought them thinking they'd be kicky and fun. They would eliminate panty line and be comfy and lounge-y. Plus, look how they look cute on the model. Right? WRONG!

These are horrible monstrosities. Best case scenario, the underwear is too loose. Worst case scenario, the "legs" of the shorts bunch up under pants and create an indescribable effect that is much, much worse than panty line, yet the overall effect is still sort of loose. No, not loose. Breezy. The shape of the underwear indicates that they should sit on your hips a few inches below your bellybutton. Placing the garment in the appropriate location, however, leads to an uncomfortable lack of bits-hugging fabric. Regardless of the cut of underwear you prefer, certain parts should be covered. My emergency underwear? DOES A SORRY-ASS JOB OF COVERING THOSE PARTS. My point is that these are very bad emergency panties. And I wore a pair yesterday. And another pair today.

I need to do laundry as soon as possible so that I can get back to underwear I like. Like these. My good friend Marci, she who holds all underwear knowledge, encouraged me to get them, and they are hot. Hotter than they look on the model, if you ask me.

October 02, 2006

Lisa: scared straight

It is no secret (and nothing to apologize for) that Mormon culture values abstinence before marriage. Teachers working with young people in the church have been known to resort to all kinds of object lessons (such as The Clean White Handkerchief) and mantras (like Choose the Right) to reinforce the importance of this principle. Back in the day, I wore a CTR ring and even had a card tacked up near my bed that read "Don't trade what you want most for what you want at the moment." I have no problem with any of this. Unfortunately, those well-intentioned teachers sometimes went a bit too far. Those who know me may have guessed that I am talking about the lesson of The Tainted Muffin, which goes something like this:

At the beginning of class, the teacher holds up a giant, delicious-looking muffin. I don't know why it has to be a muffin. I can't imagine that the teachers, with their pure minds, chose it for any specific reason. ANYWAY, the teacher asks if anyone would like to eat the muffin, and of course everyone raises her hand. The teacher then starts passing the muffin around the class. Each girl is instructed to touch, poke, lick, spit, step on, or otherwise violate the muffin. Once the muffin has made its way back to the teacher, she holds it up again, and again asks if anyone would like to eat the muffin. Predictably, no one wants the disgusting thing now. Then the teacher goes on to painstakingly explain how no one will want us if we allow our "muffins" to become...ahem...tainted. Let me clarify for those Young Women leaders out there who may have found me by mistake: THIS IS A HORRIBLE OBJECT LESSON. Where does repentance fit in? Forgiveness? Our intrinsic self-worth? I am afraid that this lesson contains more than just a little bit of dog poo. I only wish that I had known about the Twenty Dollar Bill at the time, so I could have beaten these teachers at their own game. Instead I picked up a few more unhealthy thought patterns. But hey--I guess it worked! At least THIS virgin bride wasn't stuck handing her husband a bare stem on the wedding night! (Thanks, mimi. It's not a sore spot or anything.)

September 26, 2006

Lisa: potty mouth

I like to focus on the hard-hitting issues. You know, those relevant, timely matters that require extensive research. The subject I have chosen for today is automatic-flush toilets. I can only assume that the automatic flush feature was intended to create a more sterile public restroom environment. I'm sure the sequence of events is supposed to go something like this:

1. Enter bathroom stall, closing and locking the door behind you.
2. Lower trousers and sit down firmly on the toilet seat, to avoid the seat-splattering that inevitably comes with hovering. (YEAH, I SAID IT. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.)
3. Do your business.
4. Stand up and reposition clothing.
5. Exit stall without touching anything except the locking mechanism of the door, giving nary a thought to the unsightly contents of the toilet behind you, which will be effortlessly whisked away as you leave the bathroom stall.

Unfortunately, the sequence of events I have encountered in real life often goes more like this:

1. Enter bathroom stall, closing and locking the door behind you.
2. Lower trousers and begin to sit down, only to hear the toilet start flushing. Jump back up in an undignified fashion to avoid getting splashed. Wait with pants down for the flushing to be over so that you can sit down. Hopefully you didn't wait too long before you decided to go.
3. Do your business, accidentally moving slightly as you carry out normal bathroom functions, setting off the sensor that in turn activates the flush. Make a split-second decision whether to endure the possible splashing or to raise yourself off the toilet before your business is 100% complete. Repeat several times if the sensor is faulty, which it usually is.
4. Stand up and reposition clothing. Look down at the toilet, which has apparently used up its quota of flushes and is now resting in a dormant state, ready to display its contents to the next user. Wave hand in front of sensor, to no avail. Look desperately around the plumbing apparatus at the back of the toilet for a button or lever that will manually activate the flush. If you find one, press it gingerly and proceed to step 5. If not, lift the toilet seat a few times, hoping that will somehow set off the sensor. When it doesn't, do a little dance in front of the toilet (remember, no one can see you). When the toilet doesn't respond, mime sitting down and standing back up. Glare angrily at the toilet bowl for a few seconds, then shrug when it finally flushes with no apparent impetus.
5. Exit stall having touched not only the locking mechanism, but also the toilet seat and possibly a squishy plastic button that you know never gets cleaned.

Am I alone? Does everyone else love automatic-flush toilets? Because I am afraid this is an instance of embracing new technology just because it is new, not because it is better.

CNN, call me if you ever need programming ideas.

September 19, 2006

Sarah: 6. None of the above

Sunday night, after I had fallen asleep, I was jolted awake by the sound of my phone. I had received a text message. This is an exact quote:

(FW:)SeNd diS 2 evEryoNe aND C Wat thEy vOtE u! 1.=ghettO 2.=cute 3.=cooL 4.=i'd marRy u 5. fun

Is this what the kids are doing these days? Sending junk mail/spam/forwards via text message? Because I am NOT DOWN.

I would like to add: this text spammer must be punished. If you would like to inundate his myspace or phone with annoying messages (the more nonsensical capital and lowercase letters the better), let me know, and I'd be happy to provide you with the necessary information.

September 18, 2006

Lisa: maybe a new pair of shoes would help

Do you ever find yourself wanting to stomp and scream and cry a little bit, because life just isn't fair? But then, because you're a grownup, you smile and go out and do your job like everything is fine? And then maybe you realize that you ARE fine, or at least no different than you were before, except a tiny little piece of your soul might have died, but the piece is really so small that probably you wouldn't have even noticed if you hadn't been looking for it? And after that, if you are feeling really maudlin, you might start wondering how big your soul used to be? Or what happens when it's completely gone?

No? You don't? Yeah, me neither. I don't even know why I brought it up.

February 06, 2006


On my way to work a few days ago, I spotted this Hummer H2 with the vanity license plate HDN4HVN. I had to read it out loud to myself before I figured out that it said "Headin' for Heaven," and then I couldn't help but shake my head. Um, no, I don't think so, Buddy.

A few minutes later, I saw the following license plate frame on the back of a giant Caddy: "Nothin's lackin' when you're Cadillackin'". For some reason I kind of believe that guy.

January 25, 2006

Sarah: Man was not meant for Internet cafes alone.

I don't understand why my wireless internet has been gone for three days. But I know that it is sucking my life away.

Also, guy that sits in front of me in class: A quasi-mohawk that hasn't been washed for weeks on a dandruff-prone head is less emo-hot and more greasy-gross. I'm just saying.

December 09, 2005

Sarah: Ping! My name. is. Ping.

(The title is a Mulan reference. I'm embarrassed FOR you if you didn't get it.)

Lisa wrote a cute entry a while ago, but when I was getting rid of spam from our site, I discovered it had been spam pinged 76 times. This is just sad. Spammers, leave my sister alone!!

Update: Today I found an entry by Lisa with 89 spam pings. Seriously out of hand.

October 04, 2005

Lisa: For heaven's sake, please leave them on. No, seriously, we don't need to see your toes.

It looks like the Etiquette Grrls have already covered this topic for me, here. Here it is, edited only to remove a few instances of Cutesy Affected Capitals that distracted from the intelligent and reasoned response.

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I get sooooooo aggravated... I mean extremely... on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown aggravated when people wear shoes in my house. I have put up signs on the front door (which may not be the most proper thing to do, but it worked) telling them to PLEASE remove their shoes before entering. That worked, but then we moved. I thought that by then everyone who ever was a guest in my home knew that I did not like shoes in the house, so I didn't place another sign. My in-laws don't get the picture. My mother in-law, father in-law, brother in-law, and even his wife still wear their shoes in my house. I have made comments, I have asked nicely... they have to know how I feel about this. It literally drives me insane if I am sitting in the same room with someone who has their shoes on! My husband tells me it is rude to ask someone to take off their shoes. Personally, I feel it is rude to not take off your shoes! I don't live outside in the dirt, and animal doo-doo, and I certainly don't want to bring it into my house! What can I do? And am I being rude?

Thank you,

Dear K,

Oh, Dear Reader, we are sure you won't be happy to hear this, but we cannot agree with you on this one. It is perfectly normal to wear shoes indoors. When the EGs go to a party, we wear nice shoes-- pretty Kate Spade slingbacks, say. We would be shocked and appalled if someone were to request, nay, DEMAND that we remove them and walk around in our stockings all night! The EGs would have spent a long time deciding which shoes would go with our outfit, and it would be just silly to leave them at the door! And furthermore, would you really want us to stub our toes or get runs in our stockings? Dear Reader, we'd probably walk out the door and celebrate somewhere else where our nice slingbacks were made welcome!

Dear Reader, the EGs would like to ask gently if perhaps you are over-reacting, just a wee, wee bit? Of course, we would be utterly horrified too if someone who had apparently been traipsing through sewers tried to wander into the Etiquette Flat, tracking filth everywhere. But Dear Reader, honestly, we are sure your in-laws do not, as you have put it, actually live outside in the dirt, etc., etc. It's more than slightly insulting to them for you to imply this. The EGs can only respond to your question from our own perspective, and we have offered our opinion on the matter, as you asked. However, we just want to say that if you find you're obsessed with this issue-- if you truly feel in actual Nervous Breakdown Range-- you might want to talk with a professional who has experience helping folks with issues like this. You shouldn't have to worry so, Dear Reader!

With best wishes,
The Etiquette Grrls

July 02, 2005

Lisa: This is not a difficult concept

Eye-makeup remover should not sting the eyes. It is formulated for the EYE AREA. Seriously, people. Also, you should not have to rinse it off, either by wiping with a wet washcloth (creates wrinkles!) or splashing (washes the stingy stuff right into the eye proper).

May 27, 2005

Lisa: Amazon Wish List

Amazon is practically perfect in every way, but there are a few things I would change. The most irritating of these has just come about with the new redesign. Apparently, there is no longer an "advanced search" feature! At least, I can't find one. There isn't even an ISBN search! Just "Search" and an empty box. This is unacceptable.

Secondly, I wish the international versions of the site were all a big happy family, allowing me to add items from all the sites to one big wish list. I want to put these two skirt pattern books from the Japan site on my list (thanks a lot, Mariko!), as well as this DVD of just the Buffy musical episode. I don't want to spend $50 to buy all of Season 6, which was largely crap, but I also don't necessarily want to illegally burn just that episode off of someone else's Season 6 set. I just want to pay my money for only the part I want. Is that so wrong? But I digress.

Thirdly, I wish there were easily accessible "log in" and "log out" links. I love all the cookie-enabled features Amazon offers (Big Brother overtones or not), but I don't necessarily want everyone else at work or wherever to be able to see my suggestions or (heaven forbid!) edit my wish list. "If you are not Lisa, click here" just doesn't cut it as a log-out option. And sometimes it can be tricky to log back in once you have figured out how to log out. Sometimes I have had to try to access a secure area of the site (logging on to check order status, change contact info, etc.) just to be able to delete something from my wishlist or see what they think I would like to listen to next. I think the problem is that they either don't want people to realize or notice how much of the site is personalized through cookies, or they think the average user is too dumb (or too concerned with preserving anonymity) to log in to access these features and allow Amazon to collect the information they use.

March 17, 2005

Lisa: Now I know why they drink on St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is supposed to be a happy day. Everything is green, the pinching of near-strangers is officially sanctioned, cute little leprechauns and pots of gold abound, and Blake and I got engaged on St. Patrick's Day five years ago. Unfortunately, today is not living up to my expectations. I forgot to wear green (thank goodness I am not in elementary school anymore). Blake is deathly ill, and is at home under a pile of blankets, moaning, with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled up. I may have roiled the Orchestra at Temple Square waters by mentioning the seating situation, and I don't want to deal with that issue again. Most upsetting of all is that we were not able to get the deal on plane tickets that we were waiting for, and now there doesn't seem to be anything AT ALL available in our price range. Please help me salvage the crumbs of my wretched existence by leaving genius ideas about where to get cheap plane tickets in the comments. I am having a hard time now finding round-trip tickets between Salt Lake and London in June under $1000. I should have known $500 was too good to be true!

Tomorrow morning I plan to take a little blue pill and then reassess the situation. Hey, it's not my fault Mormons have to self-medicate via prescription.

December 16, 2004

Lisa: Learning is hard.

I ruined my new sweater. Right before Thanksgiving, I got a gorgeous light pink lambswool sweater with a wide ribbed band at the bottom and a sort of open cowl neck with a pretty pointelle (?) pattern. The brand is I.N. San Francisco (so easy to search for on Google!) and I bought it at Dillards. I wore the sweater once and it was fabulous. Anyway, the tag said "hand wash cold, lay flat to dry," but for some reason I figured "machine wash warm, lay flat to dry" would be fine. I was wrong. The fibers have irreparably shrunk, and no amount of re-wetting and stretching will make a difference. Dillards won't exchange it because I don't have tags or a receipt (because I never anticipated returning such a perfect sweater), and besides, they are sold out of the pretty pink and only have a dirty-looking off-white left in stock. I can't find the sweater on the Dillards website, so I can't even order a new one and just chalk the cost up to experience. ARRGH! I just want my sweater back! I promise to follow the washing instructions next time!

November 23, 2004

Lisa: Sing it, Charlie Brown

Angry Scribble

October 23, 2004

Lisa: Stare into the TV screen and count to 10

I unexpectedly found some political commentary in my Gilmore Girls recap:

How are there undecided voters? Why is this such a close race? How? I don't understand. How can anybody be happy with the way things are going now, how we're viewed in the world and what is happening to the majority of Americans, from their take-home pay to the troops at war, to the price of health care. How can anybody think that we need another four years of this to see where it's all going to pan out? How can that be a solution? It's like staying with a husband who beats you, because he tells you how much he loves you and it's for your own good, because if you just listened to him and did what he said, he wouldn't have to beat you so hard (notice how he didn't say he'd stop beating you?). Oh, and that husband hates your gay friends. Thinks they're evil to the core. And he kind of hates your black friends, too. He does like your Hispanic friends; they do great work around his house. He wants them to go back to Mexico when they're done cleaning up, though. Don't want them getting comfortable with our way of life.

Thank you, Pamie. If we do end up with W again, I am hoping that the announcement of the election results coincides with the release of Gilmore Girls Season 2 on DVD, so that I can lock myself in my house with lots of ice cream, ignore all outside news and current media, possibly hum some girly tunes to ward off rage blackouts, and immerse myself in the show.

October 21, 2004

Lisa: Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobe, you're my only hope!

Aaack! I seem to be having a problem that I am hoping someone out there in Internet-land can help me with. I used to have access to Photoshop at my old job, and I have been waiting to process and post a bunch of pictures from my digital camera until I got the Adobe Creative Suite installed on my Powerbook. I finally got the Creative Suite (which includes Photoshop) installed, and yesterday I edited the images that I wanted to post today. I put the images from my Mac onto a USB key (thumb drive, flash drive, whatever) and brought them to work with me today. When I tried to open, preview, and upload the files from my new work computer (a PC), I ran into some problems. The pictures are all pixelated across the bottom in the previews, and Movable Type won't upload them--it just gives me an error message complaining about "premature end of jpeg file." Not only that, but the USB key seems to contain duplicates of every file, with a period and space in front of the duplicate file names. I can't open the duplicate files at all. Is this a Mac/PC compatibility issue? Because one of the main reasons that I got the USB key in the first place was to simplify file sharing between the two computers. Help!!!

Edited to add...the problem was that I pulled the USB key out of the laptop without dragging it to the trash. Everything is fine now, and I panicked for nothing.

Also, what should I be for Halloween? I still like the Leia idea, but I fear it is too close to Halloween to get a decent Leia costume together.

October 14, 2004

Lisa: Leaks and Links


Before we closed on our house, the inspector warned us that there didn't seem to be a drain in the basement suitable for allowing leaking water to escape without icky flooding. While probably not urgent, this was a problem that needed to be fixed, so the previous owners agreed to throw in some cash so that we could get a drain installed after we moved in.

A few days before we moved in, our realtor noticed a little drip coming from the water softener, located in the basement laundry room. It seemed like no big deal, but the previous owners again agreed to add a bit to their check to us to facilitate repairs.

I know you see where I'm going with this--the water softener has been leaking like crazy and forming big puddles all over the drainless laundry room floor. Unfortunately, our home warranty doesn't cover water softeners, but I think we can fix it ourselves if we get the right part. However, the plumbing supply company referred to me by the water softener people as their distributor has never heard of the brand, MacCLEAN. After running all over town, I finally just tried ordering the part directly from the manufacturer, so we'll see if it shows up.

When I finally got a plumber to come out and give me a bid on putting in a drain down there, he pulled up a few linoleum tiles and found what looks like a drain already in place, that was for some reason PLASTERED OVER in a previous remodeling effort. He recommends that we bang on the plaster with a hammer, pull it out, and see what is underneath. If it's a pipe, we are in business. If not, we have just destroyed our floor AND have to pay to bore a hole for a drain into the giant cast-iron pipe in the corner of the laundry room.

The saddest part of all of this is that we can't buy a fabulous new front-loader washer and dryer until the drain situation is resolved. I was hoping the days of doing laundry at Mom and Dad's house were past.


I want to make these super cute (and easy looking) Halloween lanterns. Maybe on a string of white Christmas lights?

Thank goodness someone saved Bush's notes from the debate, so that we could all laugh before we think about it too hard and start to cry.

For the next entry in the laundry room saga, click here.

October 05, 2004

Lisa: a tucked-in shirt and a good haircut makes the man

The sound of thousands of Gilmore Girls viewers around the world screaming in unison "GET A HAIRCUT, DEAN!" every time poor Mr. Padalecki came on screen was finally heard--and that boy is lookin' fine! Too bad the wardrobe people at Angel missed my repeated admonitions to "TUCK IN YOUR SHIRT, ANGEL!"--I know my downstairs neighbors didn't. Unfortunately, the formerly dapper D-Bo sported the untucked button-down shirt under the suit coat look (often paired with too-long pants and hands stuffed in his pants pockets) until the very last episode, and probably died looking like that. It's a shame, really, when he used to be so hot.

Thanks to Luke's Diner and Phoenix's D-Bo site for the photos.

October 04, 2004

Lisa: Home is where my head is

Today is moving day. Yesterday we cleaned the new house and made a bunch of trips in our cars, carrying the stuff we didn't want to put in boxes like clothes and framed pictures. Right now Blake and some friends are loading up a moving truck with boxes and furniture and driving it over to the new place. At least, I assume that's what they are doing--I had to go to work. Blake says it's better this way anyway, as I'll just get all stressed out, which will make him more stressed out. Whatever. Now I'm just stressed out at work, imagining the worst.

Also, our phone and internet at the new house isn't getting installed until Thursday, which means FOUR DAYS without them. Plus, for some reason the guy at CompUSA couldn't install an AirPort card in my PowerBook, and the Adobe Creative Suite wouldn't install either, which means everything is screwed up and I can't even check email at my parents' house. I think David is going to come to my rescue, and in the meantime I am going to concentrate on organizing and cleaning my home in a very Zen-like state without interruptions from the outside world. As soon as I get home from work.

October 01, 2004

Lisa: Hey, I can be silly AND serious

Molly, I know we talked about going to your cabin on Halloween weekend, but are you sure you don't want to have a Lots-a-Leias party instead? I could totally get into making a Leia costume, and I would pay good money (if I had some) to see Blake in a Leia costume too. Or maybe he could be a wookie.

Also, I would like to ask a special favor of any Utahns of voting age who may be reading this. Please read this site and make an educated decision on whether to vote yes or no for Amendment 3 next month. Knee-jerkers, I would like to ask you to pay special attention to the section titled "LDS Church has NOT Endorsed Amendment 3." Thank you.

September 20, 2004

Lisa: Let's just crank that stress level up a notch

It looks like we may have to pay 3% down on our house, which would totally screw up our plans regarding the car, not to mention my precious front-loading washer and dryer. Cross your fingers for us (or touch the roof of your car when you go over railroad tracks, or whatever) that two years of school can stand in for two years of work in my current profession on the mortgage application.

Also, I took a few pictures of the house on yet another stealth-filled drive-by. To be posted here soon...

August 20, 2004

Lisa: Brain Cloud

It looks like I am too late to buy the car I had my heart set on. The Echo, which I blathered about here, is apparently being discontinued, although I find no evidence of that on the Toyota website. None of the dealers in the entire region have a new Echo. I am so bummed! I loved its cuteness and incredible gas mileage, but most of all I was excited about the oh-so-affordable price. I want to buy a car with cash, and I think we will have to earn two or three thousand more dollars before we could consider buying a different but comparable new vehicle. Getting a loan for $2200 or whatever would be lame. All of the Toyota dealers want to sell me a Scion XA when they hear I am looking for an Echo, but I am not convinced. The Scion is not as cute. It is a hatchback with four individual seats. Its base price is $2000 more than the Echo. True, it has more standard features...

I guess I will have to decide what to do. The problem is that if we buy a house soon (which we want to do) and/or if I get a library job (and I'm interviewing for one on Monday!), I will almost assuredly not be able to ride the light rail to work. We will need another car, period. I was just hoping I could go to the dealership, tell them exactly what I wanted, come home with something shiny and NEW that I loved, and feel happy and carefree. Now I am all stressed out about it and worried I will make the wrong choice.


I just moved into a new office at work. It is much bigger than my old office, with tons of storage space and real wood furniture instead of the gray modular stuff. I love it. And they are sending me to a conference in New Orleans in September, which should be awesome. I had just decided I was feeling good about staying at this job for a while when I got called for the aforementioned interview for a library job that I applied for months ago. Now I am almost hoping I DON'T get the library job, which is crazy.

In other, not-related news, Sarah gave me this super cute librarian pin from Fred Flare for graduation! I love it, but I'm not sure whether or not I'm actually making fun of myself by wearing it. I mean, is it an ironic librarian pin? Whatever, it's cute.

Also, the guy I mentioned a couple of months ago is starting medical school on Monday at the medical school WHERE I WORK, so I guess I will only be seeing more of him. Whoopee.

June 09, 2004

Guest Blogger: David Anderson

OK, this is crazy: I just saw an ad for the Air Force Academy, and unfortunately it was a flash animation, so I couldn't copy it and show it here. But here's what it said:

A young woman is seen sitting in a library or classrom, looking over her shoulder at a couple behind her, listening to what they are saying. The caption reads, "Eavesdropping used to get you into trouble." Then the picture cuts to another of the same girl, this time in military uniform in front of some computer screens, I'm assuming that show surveillance equipment, and the caption says, "Now it saves the day." Then the panel changes to show the Air Force logo, and the final caption reads, "We've been waiting for you."

What the crap is that??!!! I'm sorry, but that is wrong in so many ways.

May 19, 2004

Lisa: But we're agreed that asking your date to carry tampons in his pocket is bad, right?

Wise words from one of Pamie's recaps on TWoP:

If your boyfriend hates buying you tampons, he's an idiot. A child. A man buying tampons is a man who gets laid because there's not a man on this planet who needs tampons for himself. Get over it, guys. When a girl buys condoms it means she's totally getting laid. You should hold those tampons over your head and go, "My ladyfriend is bleeding! I am a good boyfriend! I am taking care of her! We have sex on a regular basis and we're responsible about it so now she's on her period! Yes, that's right, we had another successful month of having sex without getting pregnant! Three cheers for me and my penis!"

Skating by on other people's funny is not meant to be a trend--my last two entries notwithstanding.

May 18, 2004

Lisa: Good News and Bad News

There is a New Urbanist development being built in the Salt Lake Valley! Well, they don't use the phrase 'New Urbanism' on their website, but as far as I can tell, that's what they are. Huzzah! And maybe they will have a library for me to work in!

Unrelated note to crabby credit union manager:

I am not unstable, irresponsible, or shifty. Of COURSE you aren't supposed to write checks if you don't already have money in your account to cover them. It's called unexpected vacation expenses (such as IKEA purchases, to be explained later)--it could happen to anyone! Anyway, that's why I'm giving you this big check right now. Yes, I wrote it to myself from another account. No, I can't drive to my other bank to get actual cash during the middle of the workday. My other account has PLENTY of money in it, if you would only CALL THEM TO FIND OUT. Sure, no, go ahead, put a hold on my check instead. I don't mind AT ALL!!

March 15, 2004

Lisa: The world is round? Nonsense!

There has been a lot of anti-Atkins sentiment going around lately. I mentioned here about six months ago that I was going on the Atkins diet (or rather, changing my eating patterns to fit the Atkins nutritional approach), and I have been faithfully following it ever since. So far I have lost about 35 pounds, with another five to go. I have never stuck to a diet before in my life. On Atkins, I not only look a lot better, but I feel a lot better. I have more energy and fewer mood swings (and hardly any unexplainable crying). Here's the thing--I am sick of people telling me that my lifestyle of choice is unhealthy. Atkins isn't about eating pound after pound of bacon, topped with cheese and a stick of butter. It's about avoiding processed flour, processed sugar, and caffeine. I'm pretty sure that all doctors (and garage mechanics) would agree that cutting those things out of your diet will not only help you lose weight, but also be generally healthier! And of COURSE people who go off the diet gain the weight back! Their regular diet is what made them fat in the first place!!!

OK. I'm backing away from the computer eat my delicious, low carb lunch of grilled chicken with pesto and sauteed vegetables.

February 28, 2004

Sarah: Bunheads!!

Tonight there was a dance performance in the university fine arts building for girl dance groups junior high and high school ages. I was also in the building and used the facilities after the dancers had left. In the restroom were twenty bobby pins on the sinks and floor, body glitter, feathers, and a sports bra. Thanks, ladies. Damn bunheads.

How does someone forget a bra? You'd think they'd notice it was missing...

February 18, 2004

Guest Blogger: David Anderson

Dave: So, on the page where i read your email, there was this ad with a picture of a smile, that said, "Who does this smile belong to? Click for a FREE $50 certificate," and it obviously belonged to Julia Roberts. You know how those things are.
Lisa (reading this conversation later): You didn't click, did you?
Sarah: Dude, you didn't do it, did you?
Dave: And the choices were: Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry. So, I obviously clicked on Halle Berry.
Sarah: Dude, one of those people is black.
Dave: Apparently, I won a $50 certificate. So I was wrong, Halle Berry is a white woman.
Sarah: hee hee hee
Dave: Those things are so dumb. I guess they think that people will read it, and go "Ooh! I know the answer! I know the answer!" and not be able to resist clicking, so they get the easiest possible question that everyone will know. But i think they would have more success if they had questions like, "How did Millikan prove Plank's hypothesis of the quantization of atomic spectra to be correct?" Then, people would really want to try to answer it. it wouldn't be so obvious.
Sarah: Dude. You're a geek.
Dave: But then again, they want to prey upon the stupid. So that might mess with their whole business plan.
Sarah: Yes.

February 01, 2004

Sarah: I refuse to pity you!

My parents live in a fairly affluent neighborhood. While visiting them last week, I attended church with them. I left the church at the same time as a man helped an elderly woman into his car to give her a ride home. I watched the gleaming BMW as it pulled away and noticed it's vanity license plate: "SHOFUR." Is this a cry for sympathy? You poor baby, you have to drive other people around in your luxury vehicle! Does your bottom tire of the leather seats? The air conditioning dries your skin? I won't feel bad for you! If you were a soccer mom in a minivan, I would believe that you were frazzled from driving across town all day every day. You're a 50-something business man. In a BMW. I just don't get it.

January 21, 2004

Sarah: Come On, Get Happy

Many salutations are considered acceptable in the English language, but I would like to propose that one be banned. The phrase "You have a good day, now" is utterly unacceptable. You! Have a good day! NOW! I just feel like it's a little too bossy for a good natured farewell. I don't have a problem with the phrase "have a good day," but I think this greeting should stay vague to avoid sounding like an attack. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!

January 20, 2004

Lisa: Perhaps more sleep is in order.

Today is a blech day. I don't know what is behind this blechiness, and therefore I don't know how to fix it. Should I self-medicate with delicious, comforting food (or Diet Coke)? Should I buy the Alias Season 2 DVDs and enjoy the associated temporary capitalistic euphoria? Put my nose to the grindstone and appreciate the sense of accomplishment that comes with increased productivity? (HA!)

I feel like complaining. I want to rant about people who have irritated me. Unfortunately, a few people from my real life know about (and therefore could potentially read) this website. I certainly wouldn't want anyone I know to find something about themselves and then have to hate me, Harriet-the-Spy-style.

It doesn't help that today after work I have to go to the library for my internship. I mean, it should be fun (as fun as unpaid labor can be), but I just want to go home, put on pajamas, and watch Buffy with Blake. And I haven't even gotten to try out the new sewing machine I got for Christmas! At least tomorrow I get to go to art class. (singing) Art class! (/singing)

I think I'm going to use the small burst of positive energy I got from remembering about art class tomorrow to head down to the cafeteria. Luckily, they sell sweet life-giving nectar in giant 32 oz. cups.

December 10, 2003

Lisa: none of your business!

I hate it when the ladies at the fabric store ask me what I'm going to be making with the materials I'm buying. You always get asked twice, too--once by the person who cuts the fabric, and once by whoever rings you up. Here's the conversation from my last trip to JoAnn's:

Nosy Cashier Lady: What are you making?
Me: (mumbling) Oh, just a cape.
NCL: Oh. Is it for a wedding?
Me: Nope.
NCL: Well, is it for some other special occasion?
Me: Uh, no...(turns head to the side and talks out of corner of mouth) it's just a for a costume.

I'm sure they're just trying to be friendly, but it seems a little invasive to me. When I worked at the bookstore, we weren't allowed to comment on the books customers were buying. Plus, I've been buying fabric for a costume that I'm a little insecure about anyway. I don't want to feel embarassed or like I need to justify myself!

I also anticipate with dread the reaction of video store clerks to what I'm renting. The clerks at Blockbuster seem especially prone to praising or scoffing at video choices. Unfortunately, impressing Mr. Blockbuster Employee with a sophisticatedly artsy or cult classic tape doesn't guarantee that I'll enjoy the film. The last movie I rented that got the "great movie!" seal of approval was a terrible disappointment. Valley of the Dolls, why hast thou forsaken me? To add insult to injury, when I complained about the movie to my mom later, she insisted (in a disgusted and disappointed tone) that it was X-rated. Apparently, "all [she knows] is that when it came out, people considered it PRET-TY ROUGH." Please, Mom. Have another "doll."

For the next entry in the saga of the Eowyn costume, click here.

December 02, 2003

Lisa: Not just pretending

Things I am thinking about right this minute:

  • Working at a school while going to school is a bad idea. My finals week is always the busiest week at work, too, which is crappy. (If you are a 30-50 year-old man in the Salt Lake area who would like to do some easy work for $15/hour, CALL ME!)

  • Support the Lisa and Blake fund: buy my parents' coffee table!

  • My costume is coming along fabulously, albeit a little slowly. At the last sewing session, I found that invisible zippers are hard to put in, especially if you have never done it before, are just trying to wing it, and don't have the right sort of presser foot. I guess I will be going to the fabric store to purchase a new, unmutilated zipper.

  • Macadamia nuts are absurdly expensive. Sarah and I had a whole riff about this, which I can't remember now.

  • The employees at the McDonald's by my apartment seem to be especially inept. Blake and I swing through their drive-thru quite often after work, and I always order the same thing: a Bacon Ranch Salad with grilled chicken, and a medium Diet Coke. This is a regular menu item, nothing funny, but they manage to mess it up almost every time. I have never gotten croutons with my salad (but I have at other McDonald's stores), I have been given the breaded chicken instead of the grilled several times, once I got the salad without the chicken entirely, and once they tried to give me a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon on it. Honestly, people! The folks at Burger King have my "usual" memorized, and have it sitting on the counter for me by the time I'm ready to order.

  • Babies are nice.

  • November 05, 2003

    Sarah: Letter to Enya

    Dear Enya,
    Congratulations on your record sales and soothing chanting music. I have one small qualm with your lyrics. In some of your songs, like "Only Time" for example, you use a "dead" language of your own invention. What are your qualifications, I wonder, for a dead language? If a language must simply not exist in the current vernacular, then yours is perfectly legitimate. If, however, it had to exist as common language at some point in time, then your language does not fit this description. Personally, I am unsettled by the idea of individuals inventing languages and passing them off as those lost with the dying of some civilization. Although soothed by your music, should your fans continue to be duped in this way? I believe the time has come to liberate them from the cages of mistaken information and tell them this dirty secret. It is not a language at all, but peaceful noises. This language holds meaning only to you. Your fans will forgive you, and your career will not take a tragic turn. In fact, this could be a positive move for you. Perhaps sceptics like myself will appreciate your honesty and listen to your music for what it is, instead of despising it for what it is not. I trust you will make the right decision. Good luck in the future.

    October 22, 2003

    Guest Blogger: David Anderson

    An Open Letter to Brian McKnight, Singer-Songwriter of "Back at One"

    Dear Mr. McKnight,

    Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this letter. I am sure that with all of your autograph-signing and frolicking in your solid-gold swimming pool, that you have precious few moments to read letters from people such as myself, so I will therefore be brief.

    I am writing in regards to your hit song, "Back at One," for which you made millions and millions of dollars. Now, I would never quibble with your lyric intent--as a contented fan says on the website, "Brian Mchknight's Back At One, in my opinion, is one the top five albums of the nineties [sic.]." But I was hoping that you would clarify the meaning of the chorus for me, as I have yet to completely decipher it. It appears that the chorus, at least, follows the standard format of a counting song, in that each line begins with the counted number (one, two, three, four) followed by the step that the narrator intends to follow next.

    The first line, "One, you're like a dream come true," I understand to be a simile in which your narrator asserts a kind of metaphysical rightness in regards to his object of affection. And the second line, "Two, just want to be with you" continues this list of feelings that she inspires in the narrator. By the third line, "Three, Girl it's plain to see, that you're the only one for me," you have clearly established this pattern--the listener now has the expectation that each number will correspond to a reason, if you will, that the narrator's girl is the only one for him. Now, line four is where I get hung up. In it, you sing. "Four, repeat steps one through three /Make you fall in love with me." It seems here that you are treating lines one through three as if they were steps that one could follow. But if you remember, step one was, "One, you're like a dream come true," which seems to be more a statement of fact then a step which one could follow, indeed, a step that, if followed, would make the girl fall in love with the narrator. Lines two and three only further the confusion. How could one repeat the step "Just want to be with you," or even "Girl it's plain to see, that you're the only one for me?"

    I'm sure you can imagine my concern upon hearing this in your song. If I, for example, had a girl that I felt was the only one for me, and wished to emulate your narrator's methods in an effort to make said girl fall in love with me, then where would I begin? "Repeat steps one through three," your narrator mockingly tells me, as I vainly attempt to carry out step one, "you're like a dream come true." Certainly you would admit that no girl has ever been made to fall in love with a person for simply "wanting to be with you."

    Thank you for your time--if you have any suggestions on how I can resolve this dilemma, I would appreciate it greatly if you could let me know.

    A Concerned Listener

    October 08, 2003

    Sarah: One of these things is not like the others.

    Okay, I haven't talked to any "women of color," so I'm not sure if they have a problem with this. A certain hair product company has recently developed shampoo and conditioner for women of African descent. I have no problem with this. In fact, it's probably great. Their hair is definitely different than caucasian or asian hair. The part of their product that annoys me is that this new shampoo comes in brown bottles. Are they trying to tell their target audience to match the bottle with their SKIN?! Am I the only one that thinks this is weird?? Is it no coincidence that for a long time now, all of their bottles have been cream colored? You are what you shampoo with, I guess.

    September 14, 2003

    Sarah: Holla!

    ...As in the relaxed pronunciation of "holler." My friend and I have decided to work this word into our working vocabulary. I am struck by the meaninglessness of this word in the raps of supastars like Ja Rule and Jay-Z. Speaking of Ja Rule, I find it difficult to understand why that man is now rich and famous. Perhaps I am perpetuating his recognizability, but I am going to venture a criticism. As far as I can see, Ja Rule can't sing. At all. Nor is he a particularly innovative rapper. Some people in the entertainment business can get by on good looks, but I do not find Ja Rule to fit into this category. He's one third of the size of most rappers (with the exception of Eminem) and has a small head with an even smaller mustache. This doesn't look like meticulously groomed facial hair, but more like he couldn't grow any more. Okay, I think I've reached a meanness level that I usually avoid. I shall retract most of my statements, but maintain that Ja Rule should just let Ashanti do the singing on their duets. Perhaps he can insert a "holla!" between verses.

    August 29, 2003

    Sarah: Fashion Police

    Although I do not consider myself the epitome of high fashion, I think I can confidently state that these two examples of poor taste that I observed on campus are blog worthy.
    Although they are tan, cream, and black, plaid pants will NEVER EVER be neutral. For this reason, You can not pair them with a mauve-ish peasant top. This was a bad look, Girl By the Fine Arts Building.
    Britney Spears-style newsie hats are ugly. I know they're trendy or whatever, but I do not like them. Because of their popularity, however, I do accept them adorning the heads of many Girls With Too Much Makeup. I do NOT condone a certain tan corduroy Britney hat worn backwards by some Guy Riding Bike. Dude. Someone needs to tell you that you can't wear your girlfriend's hats. She'd be ashamed.
    This is Sarah, Fashionista, signing off.

    July 25, 2003

    Sarah: posty mcbloggson

    Because of my lack of an internet connection at home, I frequent neighboring public libraries to check my email and google around. At each of these libraries, small whiteboards with the time you began using the computers keep you from exceeding your half hour time limit. (A half hour is simply not long enough to satisfy my internet cravings. Sometimes I have to library hop to pacify my addiction.)

    One of these libraries that I usually don't patronize (I try not to talk down to libraries in general. ha... ha... Okay, not funny.) has a more strict policy. Instead of writing down your own time, a certain employee has apparently been hired exclusively for the purpose of sitting at a desk and writing down the time when you come in to use the computers. Because you never know when someone is going to commit the devastating act of falsifying a start time! This employee cracked me up for other reasons, besides his apparent disposibility (is that a word?). [I can't even begin to understand what you meant by that, so, no, I don't think it's a word. -- Lisa] He comes around and tells patrons when they only have a minute left. Because, you know, that little whiteboard is a ticking time bomb and every minute over a half hour will upset the balance of the universe.

    Also, he wears a fannypack. Always. So that he can keep his essential belongings with him at all times. Because sometimes his desk is just too far away. I wonder what he keeps in this fannypack. A first aid kit? A dry erase marker for false time correction? Nasal spray? I'm thinking of developing a librarian fannypack, with all the librarian essentials. I could give it to Lisa as a graduation present. [Hey, that's a good idea. I would pay good money for a bumbag full of librarian essentials. You know, like black lipstick, fingerless black net gloves, a roach clip, and giant safety pins! -- Lisa] Not that I think all librarians are tragically uncool. Some are great, especially my sister! This guy just looks as if an incorrect calculation of your computer use time would make him swoon.

    Update: Today he was wearing the fanny pack, but one of his pockets was still bulging with stuff. Like, the fanny pack doesn't have a great enough capacity? The time that I must relinquish use of the computer is 5:19. Not that I care, but why not just put down 5:20? It's not as if a mutiny would begin if other library patrons learned that I had exceeded the time limit by one minute. Library Guy also came by one of the computers to adjust a white board that had been placed in its slot on its side. Oh, the horror! I don't know why I pay so much attention. In the grand scheme of things, his actions have little or no effect on me whatsoever. But if people didn't let little things like this distract them from what really matters, we'd have hardly any blogs at all.

    June 17, 2003

    Sarah: No Need for Alarm

    Nothing can fill you with hatred like hearing an alarm like your own on a radio commercial. Those should be banned. Also commercials with your cell phone ring. Those freak me out. I check my phone EVERY TIME. There also used to be a song on the radio that ended with what sounded like a siren. I would check my rear view mirror every time I heard it. All of these should be done away with. So let it be written, so let it be done.

    June 06, 2003

    Sarah: Boot THIS!

    My brother and I attended a wedding yesterday downtown, at a location where parking was impossible. As a fast resort (we thrive on running late), we parked in a near vacant parking lot of a well-known fast food chain. Although this parking lot had signs indicating that it was for customers only, I had parked in this lot before with no negative consequences. HOWEVER, when we returned from the wedding ceremony, we had a boot on the wheel of our car. Although I understand that we shouldn't occupy places for customers, I was extremely vexed for the following reasons:

  • THE PARKING LOT WAS ALMOST EMPTY!! No one eats at that stupid restaurant. It's in a horrible location, and they boot nice people! Why would anyone eat there?!
  • It cost $80 to remove the boot. My brother and I are both poor college students! We would feel deeply penitent if it only cost $20. More than that is just gratuitous.
  • On the notice that included a description of the penalty and a number to call, they spelled "boot device" incorrectly. Twice. They spelled it "boot devise" on an obviously bulk-printed item. Rude and stupid.
  • Why would anyone choose to work as the guy who deals with booted cars? No one would like you. Lots of people would hate you. Like I did.
    I'm boycotting that restaurant, even though I never ate there in the first place. I hope they go out of business in the next month, and that their building is reduced to a pile of rubble and then just one big parking lot that is open to the public. Jerks. Also, learn how to spell.

  • May 12, 2003

    Sarah: 12-Inch Whispers

    As is evident by Lisa's earlier haiku, I have no internet connection at my house. Because of this, I frequent the library at a near-daily basis to check my email, enjoy our blog, and other www excursions. Today a young mother came in with her two young children. As she sat in the chair next to me, she settled the child in the stroller down while threatening the older child of impending doom if any Kix were found on the floor. After focusing on her children, the woman then dialed up her cell phone as she began work on the internet. First discussing her inability to afford a home, and then chatting about a mutual acquaintance. None of this would have even drawn my attention or inspired eavesdropping (which I know it sounds like I was doing) if she had been talking in a low voice, but she was talking loudly! Finally, another patron asked her if she would consider talking away from people that were trying to concentrate. THANK YOU!! Now, I'm not the librarian sister or anything, but that is just rude! If you really need to make or recieve a call while at the library, I'd understand. But talk quietly and briefly!

    May 07, 2003

    Sarah: And now for something (almost) completely different

    Background information: I've been in several quartets that play for weddings, receptions, and other functions for private parties and major companies. These quartets have had many attractive young girls in them. Hey! My quartet is also for hire if you are in the Salt Lake City or Logan, UT!! Just email me!

    Rant: At almost every event that I play at, SOMEONE will come up to us and ask us if we know any Metallica or Boston or some other band. What IS that? Dude, you're not the first person to say that, and we're a freaking string quartet! We could play a polka or a waltz or even a tango, but we don't play rock music! UGH! I shouldn't be so grouchy, and I should just get used to these sorts of questions, but I just want it to stop!

    Conclusion: We would love for you to listen and enjoy, but if you're GOING to make a suggestion, make it a feasible one. And if you are going to flirt, just ask us for our numbers. End of whining.

    April 30, 2003

    Lisa: Update on THROTC

    Well, it did get worse from there. I called the night manager, and he came and took the grody food away. He promised to leave a note for the housekeeping staff, but he did NOT offer me another room. Later that night, I discovered that my sheet had some sort of red goo stuck on it and that my toilet seat was covered with nasty pee and pubic hair. I laid in bed on the side farthest from the goo and tried not to cry. Okay, I cried.

    Anyway, I told the next manager on duty about the new problems, and he promised to add them to the note for Housekeeping. HOWEVER, when I returned from the conference yesterday evening, my sheets had not been changed and the toilet had not been cleaned! I told the night manager (the same one who was on duty Sunday night) about this oversight, and he promised to take care of it PERSONALLY, as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I went to ShopKo to buy various important items I had forgotten to pack (and the 24 DVDs!). I returned to find that nothing at all had changed in my room. I called the night manager (Jonathan) again, and he apologized profusely, calling me HONEY several times. I cannot stand people calling me honey, especially people MY OWN AGE!!!! Whew. Anyway, I asked him if he would just bring me a clean set of sheets that I could put on by myself. He did, but did not offer to put them on or clean my toilet or move me to another room. Also, he brought two top sheets and no pillowcases.

    I may find myself taking advantage of the 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee. But then would my work get the money back, since they are paying for the hotel? THEY didn't have to sleep with goo!

    On the upside: The conference is good and the other participants are very nice. I spent $100 at ShopKo and loved every minute of it.

    For the next entry in this series, click here.

    April 27, 2003

    Lisa: The Hotel Room of TOTAL CRAP

    This week I'm at a training conference for my job. I got to my hotel room tonight and there was old leftover takeout in the mini fridge and an EMPTY CONDOM WRAPPER on the carpet by the bed. Ew. Just ew. I hope the week goes up from here.

    For the next entry in this series, click here.

    April 14, 2003

    Lisa: Issues

    Actual conversation conducted via instant messaging.

    Sarah: Hee hee hee. Snoop. Funny, yo.
    Lisa: I thought so too.
    Sarah: By the way, did you like my latest evidence that mom is a complete crazy crazy?
    Lisa: She's insane. Also, her message irritated me very much and kept me from falling asleep.
    Sarah: Dude, it kept you up last night??
    Lisa: It made me really mad for some reason, even though it didn't apply to me in any way.
    Sarah: Yeah, it had a maddening effect on me too, but it didn't keep me up at night.
    Lisa: “So, you'll be singing in choir with us, so you'll have to be in bed by 11. OK? Ok, great! See you then! Bye!”
    Sarah: Yeah. Word.
    Lisa: “Oh, and David can cram his CD player! He is getting a chocolate bunny or nothing!”
    Sarah: Bwee.
    Sarah: I don't think she meant that part like that.
    Lisa: “And you will be getting treats that are sugar- and fat-free! Also, a toothbrush!”
    Sarah: Hee hee hee.
    Lisa: “We don't invite Lisa and Blake for Easter, because we don't want to intrude on their private egg hunt!”
    Lisa: “Maybe we will invite them over if we have to, but they have to bring their own, pre-filled Easter baskets!”
    Lisa: “Then we will look disapprovingly on any fattening items they include!”
    Lisa: “Ok, great! See you there!”
    Sarah: Hee hee. Dude, I thought I was the one with issues...
    Lisa: Apparently not.
    Sarah: hee

    April 09, 2003

    Sarah: WWJD

    For some reason, possibly because I am one of Satan's minions, I really dislike religious car decals. Most specifically bumper stickers reading "In case of rapture, this car will be unoccupied." Uh, I'm pretty sure that humility is a virtue admired by the divine, people. Also, what's with the fish? As if a small fish representing Christian beliefs wasn't enough, people have gotten more specific. Greek Orthodox and Darwinism, among others, also have their own variations on the fish. I'm all for knowing what you believe, but I just think that your car is a bit of an inappropriate location for such paraphernalia. Also, the only time that I even begin to approve of the fish is when it is a rotten fish with "Gefilte" written on it. At least the Jews can have a sense of humor about the whole thing, huh? So, in conclusion, Libya is a land of many diversities.

    [Lisa says: try this link for more fish than you could ever want]

    April 04, 2003

    Sarah: Roommates

    So, it's my first year of college. Correct me if I am being unreasonable, but it seems to be a general rule among dorm inhabitants that sleeping until 9 o'clock is not only reasonable, but very normal. Unfortunately, I have the roommate of insanity. After returning from an early class, she bustled into the apartment, inquiring of a fellow roommate "She's STILL in bed, isn't she?" Before I am passed off as a slothful college freshman, a few additional details are required. I was not in bed, but was awake and getting ready for class. Also, the time of this incident was 8:00 am. EIGHT IN THE MORNING! If I had been in bed, which I wasn't, this would not be an obnoxious amount of sleep, nor would I be inconsiderate to expect an atmosphere in my bedroom conducive to sleep. I would just like confirmation that I was not the inconsiderate roommate in this particular instance. Also keep in mind that this roommate sees 8:00 am as an absurd time to be in bed because she prefers to do homework between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am, sleeping in the afternoon. Am I the dysfunctional one?